Navigation Links
Kinesiology team gets $975,000 Defense grant to study effects of heavy loads on soldiers

AMHERST, Mass. A team of kinesiology researchers led by Richard Van Emmerik at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently received a 2.5-year, $975,000 grant through the Navy Health Research Center in the Department of Defense to study how the average 100-lb. equipment load carried by soldiers, which can be even heavier in some missions, affects their survivability, likelihood of injury and ability to carry out missions.

"Load is not a new issue for field commanders to consider," says Van Emmerik, who is director of UMass Amherst's Sensory-Motor Control Laboratory. "But while past studies typically focused on how load affects gait and the lower body, we will for the first time look at how the upper body, trunk and head coordinate in a soldier who is burdened by a heavy load, which is a fundamentally different and a more complex situation."

Doctoral candidate Christopher Palmer, an Army employee who is an expert in motor control and military performance and a key member of Van Emmerik's team, adds, "To us, gait is just the beginning. We'll introduce a visual search task and track the coordination of upper body, postural control and visual acuity. No study has yet added all these, plus other factors, together in a realistic way to look at how load affects the soldier's ability to perceive threats, his or her operational effectiveness and survivability in combat."

Findings will also have practical significance for firefighters, police, rescue workers and others who must wear helmets, body armor, backpacks or other equipment while carrying out their duties.

The kinesiology research team, which includes doctoral students Mike Busa and Luis Rosado, with post-doctoral fellows Darnell Simon and Jongil Lim, will recruit highly trained infantrymen as laboratory subjects who will be tested with no load as well as while carrying a variety of loads between 70 and 120 lbs. for the studies.

Van Emmerik notes, "Biomechanics has taught us a lot over the past 30 years about load and locomotion, stamina, oxygen use, energy use and so on. We'll expand to look at whether load affects reaction time, visual attention to critical details and the ability to discriminate friend or foe. We'll set up some fairly realistic tasks such as having a soldier jump off the back of a truck, scan an area, and then immediately hit targets in a marksmanship test."

In preliminary tests, Palmer says, they have used participants who are "fresh" and not fatigued. But as work progresses, they plan to also conduct tests with subjects who are tired to see if they have trouble recognizing friend or foe on a radio call or taking a marksmanship test wearing night vision goggles, for example. "We'll add different layers of stress in a smart progression so that we can understand what each layer is adding to the challenge."

Overall, the kinesiology research team would like to be able to report to the military a great deal of new knowledge about the physical and mental trade-offs and limitations that come with soldiers carrying heavy loads, and of which a field commander can be aware.

"We'd like to contribute to commanders being able to make better decisions about what can be accomplished under certain conditions," Van Emmerik says. "For example, if the protective equipment has to be x, y and z, where can you expect the sharp drop in performance and how can you balance that with mission success?"

Contact: Janet Lathrop
University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Related biology news :

1. A bit touchy: Plants insect defenses activated by touch
2. New immune defense enzyme discovered
3. Basketball-sized eyes help squids play defense
4. Tapping the bodys own defenses, researchers look to cutting-edge gene therapy for bladder cancer
5. Immunological defense mechanism leaves malaria patients vulnerable to deadly infection
6. How Salmonella forms evil twins to evade the bodys defenses
7. An unexpected player in a cancer defense system
8. Targeting bacterial gas defenses allow for increased efficacy of numerous antibiotics
9. GTSI Wins Department of Defense Contract to Provide Biometric Automated Toolset Systems for U.S. Army
10. Encyclopedia of Bioterrorism Defense, 2nd edition
11. Rainbows without pigments offer new defense against fraud
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Kinesiology team gets $975,000 Defense grant to study effects of heavy loads on soldiers
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016 Research and Markets has ... 2016-2020" report to their offering. ... America to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during ... based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. ... the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of the ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of ... Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing ... May 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... the highest percentage of growth in each of the following ... exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... ANGELES , June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... identity management and verification solutions, has partnered ... edge software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service ... provides products that add functional enhancements ... partnership provides corporations and venues with an ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... -- Alex,s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading national childhood ... state-of-the-art bioinformatics lab, using ,big data, to advance the ... Liz Scott , co-executive director of ALSF and ... Washington, D.C. , hosted by Vice ... of pediatric cancer research and awareness. ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016  Global demand for enzymes ... through 2020 to $7.2 billion.  This market includes ... cleaning products, biofuel production, animal feed, and other ... and biocatalysts). Food and beverages will remain the ... increasing consumption of products containing enzymes in developing ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BIOREM Inc. (TSX-V: BRM) ("Biorem" ... by its major shareholders, Clean Technology Fund I, LP ... States based venture capital funds which together ... (on a fully diluted, as converted basis), that they ... their entire equity holdings in Biorem to TUS Holdings ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Sequenom, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... enabling healthier lives through the development of innovative products ... the United States denied its ... the claims of Sequenom,s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (",540 ... criteria established by the Supreme Court,s Mayo Collaborative Services ...
Breaking Biology Technology: